State announces $3.6 million in available grant funding to target invasive species

Funding proposals for 2017 now are being accepted through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, with an anticipated $3.6 million available to applicants. The program – a joint effort of the Michigan departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development – is part of a statewide initiative launched in 2014 to help prevent and control invasive species in Michigan.

An invasive species is one that is not native and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm to Michigan's economy, environment or human health.

usfws logoWith school doors closing, kids (and parents) are anxious to find a fun, easy outdoor summer activity. This is the perfect time to get the entire family out to a fishing event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at a national fish hatchery or national wildlife refuge. Numerous Service-sponsored fishing events will take place during National Fishing and Boating Week (June 3 – 11).

Everyone can join in this great American family tradition. From fishing clinics to fishing derbies, these events offer first-time-anglers opportunities to learn the art of fishing. All family members get to enjoy a fun and inexpensive outing to connect with each other – and with nature.

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House Committee on Natural Resources

By: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources

You heard it in your high school civics class: America has "a government of laws and not of men." The rule of law is the basis of the constitutional order erected by the Founders. "A government with unpredictable and arbitrary laws poisons the blessings of liberty itself." The first axiom is from John Adams, the second is from James Madison. Their sentiments were universal in the founding generation and ought to continue today. Checks and balances have no teeth when our leaders can disregard the laws and rule according to their whims.  

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House Committee on Natural Resources

By: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources
October 11, 2017

In a Tuesday op-ed, I explained the constitutional threat posed by the Antiquities Act, and why its repeated abuse is inconsistent with the constitutional pillars of the rule of law and checks and balances. As it turns out, there's a reason the Founders chose these principles as the basis of our government: arbitrary rule has no incentive to be accountable to the people that policies affect. Without that accountability, political and ideological manipulation corrodes the balance of power.  

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Department of Interior

Secretary Zinke Signs Order to Begin Process of Creating First Ever National Survey of Critical Minerals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following President Donald J. Trump's executive order to break America's dependence on foreign minerals, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed a secretarial order directing the initial steps to producing the first nationwide geological and topographical survey of the United States in modern history. The order also directs Interior bureaus to begin work on identifying immediate domestic sources for critical minerals.

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Western Governors have asked Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke why they were not consulted in advance about DOI's proposal to change the bureaus’ regional office boundaries and shared additional questions regarding the proposal.

"Western Governors appreciate your desire to improve the efficiency of DOI so that it can more effectively respond to the needs of our nation," said WGA Chair and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Vice Chair and Hawaii Gov. David Ige in the letter sent Feb. 1. However, the Governors

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President’s $11.7 Billion Proposed FY 2019 Budget for Interior Includes Legislation to Strengthen Infrastructure and Address Deferred Maintenance

Budget also focuses on economic growth, responsible energy development and reorganizing for the next 100 years

WASHINGTON, Feb 12, 2018– President Donald Trump today proposed an $11.7 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget for the Department of the Interior that includes a legislative proposal to establish the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund. The Fund will provide up to $18 billion to address Interior’s deferred maintenance backlog in national parks, national wildlife refuges and Bureau of Indian Education schools through funding from energy leasing revenues. The legislation complements the President’s national infrastructure investment proposal and recognizes the importance of a long-term investment in America’s treasures.

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Aerial surveys will begin March 16 and run through mid-May in five states containing lesser prairie-chicken habitat. The surveys are conducted annually by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to document population trends and how the bird is responding to management strategies identified in the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan.

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Sierra Nevada Conservancy Announces New Partnership Focuses on Increased Use of Fire in California for Natural Resource and Public Benefits

May 10, 2018 - Sacramento, Calif. – Federal and State agency officials gathered today with conservation and community fire protection groups to kick off the inaugural workshop for a Memorandum of Understanding that will promote the careful and expanded use of fire for natural resource and other social benefits in California. Wildland fuels are continuing to build up and wildfires are growing larger and more difficult to control, especially in light of California’s extended drought experience and changing climate. These factors have helped bring this unique partnership together. Citing recent fire science and large, damaging wildfires like the Rim, King, Valley, and Butte fires, this new fire partnership is calling for an expanded response and a broader suite of tools to restore resilience and protect communities across California’s rural landscape.

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This spring, the National Forest Foundation supported the Forest Service in convening and facilitating ten Regional EADM Partner Roundtables across the country, and produced a report from each of them to document input shared by partners. The NFF also pulled cross-cutting themes from the regional reports and summarized them into National Findings and Leverage Points.

In the national summary report, partner input was organized into nine themes and describe perceptions of the identified problems and leverage points for each. The report details many important leverage points that are worthy of attention, however here is a summary of the key takeaway messages:

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Washington, D.C., August 16, 2018  — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) announced today a new strategy for managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics.

Specifically, a new report titled Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based investment Strategy (PDF, 3.7 MB) outlines the USFS’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.

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Virtually every businessperson knows that he or she needs insurance to protect their enterprise. Most are even aware that insurance is not “one policy fits all.” They have auto insurance to cover their vehicles and drivers, workers compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries, and comprehensive general liability or professional liability insurance to cover the work that is done. However, it appears that many do not realize that if they use unmanned aircraft, there is likely a hole in their insurance protections.

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The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “establish a framework to allow the Forest Service and WGA to work collaboratively to accomplish mutual goals, further common interests, and effectively respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing western landscapes.”

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The Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment streamlines vegetation management and removal of hazardous trees.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In advancing the Department of the Interior’s commitment to reduce wildfire risk, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday released its Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA). This assessment covers approximately 551,000 acres of BLM-managed public land in central and northern California and streamlines the process for right-of-way holders, utility companies, and counties to treat vegetation and remove hazardous trees within 200 feet of critical infrastructure to reduce wildfire risk.

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WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a secretarial order to establish a Departmental task force to facilitate and prioritize the implementation of S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Dingell Act). The bill was made up of more than 100 individual bills that were introduced by 50 Senators and several House members. The Interior Department had advocated for in concept or worked with Members of Congress on many of the individual provisions that made up the package.

Secretarial Order 3374, Implementation of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act establishes a task force to ensure the timely and coordinated implementation of the Dingell Act and consistency among all offices and Bureaus within the Department of the Interior.

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CARSON CITY, Nev. - Friday is the deadline for bills to make it out of committee at the state Capitol, so conservation groups are drumming up support for those that address renewable energy and protection for wildlife habitat.

Senate Bill 358 would require power companies to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Brian Beffort, director of the Sierra Club's Toiyabe Chapter, said the state now spends $4 billion a year importing electricity from fossil fuels, when it could be relying on renewable power generated in Nevada.

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As western states prepare for wildfire season, new tools are helping firefighters and land managers assess danger and respond rapidly. In the Pacific Northwest, The National Fire Danger Rating System is getting its first update in more than 40 years. The new system will generate readings from weather stations without requiring a person to be present to help forest managers determine levels of fire danger.

In California, a weather satellite taking photos every five minutes can show hotspots and could potentially alert residents of a blaze.

Report Finds 2018 Spending Supported 329,000 jobs in Hotels, Restaurants, Transportation, Recreation

doi-logoWASHINGTON – As the summer vacation and travel seasons opens, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced today that visitor spending in communities near national parks in 2018 resulted in a $40.1 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 329,000 jobs.

According to the annual National Park Service report, 2018 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, more than 318 million visitors spent $20.2 billion in communities within 60 miles of a park in the National Park System. Of the 329,000 jobs supported by visitor spending, more than 268,000 jobs exist in the park gateway communities.

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housenr scopeJune 30, 2017 | House Committee on Natural Resources  

Thanks to years of neglect, the nation’s once flourishing federal forests have morphed into dense, dead and burned out wastelands. These overgrown, fire-prone thickets are increasingly susceptible to catastrophic wildfire, threatening the lives and livelihoods of countless communities. What’s even more disturbing than the escalating toll placed upon private property, human safety and the environment: it’s all preventable.
A growing chorus of Americans – including mainstream environmental groups – are acknowledging that active forest management can improve forest health, lessen the severity and cost of fires and protect communities and the environment.
 
Earlier this week, the Committee passed H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, to solve America’s forest health crisis. To date, 95 conservation, forestry and industry associations support the bill. Here’s what they’re saying:Conservation Groups:  

  • “Active forest management is crucial to establishing healthy and sustainable forests and decisions for forest management should be based on sound science. As such, the common sense solutions offered in H.R. 2936 are imperative to the health and future of our nation’s forests and important to the NWTF to help achieve our objectives.” National Wild Turkey Federation
  • “Our organizations which represent millions of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and other conservationists express our strong support for H.R.2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017…Our nation’s federal lands play a vital role in maintaining the healthy forests that are resilient to threats at a landscape level from fire, pests, disease and insects… It is imperative that we work to restore wildfire-impacted lands for the ecological health of the immediate area and surrounding landscape, protection of the watershed, and economic vitality of the local communities.” Coalition of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and conservationists

Foresters:

  • “NASF represents the heads of state forestry agencies in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the US Territories... We feel the [Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017] would indeed create the end results our members support as our members want to see more active management of federal forest lands. Expedited planning and analysis, prompt response to catastrophic events, alternative dispute resolution, greater collaboration and less costly litigation are all outcomes that for which we strongly advocate.” National Association of State Foresters 
  • “The Forest Service welcomes legislation that expands the tool set we can use to restore our nation’s forests while staying within the boundaries and intent of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Forest restoration projects provide rural jobs, mitigate the severity of wildfires, enhance watershed conditions, and ensure a variety of other economic, social and environmental benefits for the American people.” United States Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell

 Fish and Wildlife Agencies: 

  • “The [Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017] is vitally needed to restore the health of our Nation’s federal forests on USFS and BLM lands... Congress mandated that the federal forests were to be managed for water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation and timber harvest… A return to active forest management will facilitate realization of all of the public values of federal forests.” Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies 

Counties: 

  • “On behalf of the National Association of Counties (NACo) the only organization representing the nation’s 3,069 counties, parishes, and boroughs, and the Western Interstate Region (WIR), we write to express support for H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017... Counties believe that active management of federal lands and forests must be done in a sustainable manner that ensures the health of our federal lands for generations to come.” National Association of Counties 

Industry:  

  • “The Resilient Federal Forests Act strikes a balanced approach in managing the national forest system by making more land available for logging in an environmentally sustainable way. Poor land management during the past 30 years has led to declining health of national forests. This has resulted in fewer jobs and productivity in the forest sector, fewer board feet of domestically produced lumber entering the market, and a marked increase in acreage ravaged by insects, disease and fire.” National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
  • “On behalf of the more than 140,000 members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), I am writing to express NAHB’s strong support for The Resilient National Forests Act of 2017 and express our appreciation to the House Committee on Natural Resources for continuing this important discussion on the health of our nation’s forest. Better forest management practices that are also mindful of environmental considerations will help strengthen the housing supply chain and promote affordable housing opportunities for all Americans.” National Association of Home Builders 
  • “H.R. 2936 is proactive, common sense legislation… It is scientifically proven that proper timber management and rangeland management through grazing is the key to maintain healthy forests and preventing catastrophic wildfires.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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